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Make the Most of ‘Giving USA’ Findings With These Tools

After four years of positive growth, giving fell by 1.7 percent in 2018, according to the latest “Giving USA” report, which examines contributions to charities from individuals, foundations, and corporations. It is only the 13th drop in overall giving in the past 40 years.

Experts say the decrease is likely due to volatility in the stock market and changes in the tax code. With the long-term impact of the 2017 tax law still unknown, and economic uncertainty lingering, the outlook is cloudy at best.

The study’s findings about other forms of giving are mixed. Corporate contributions to charity rose 2.9 percent in 2018, and giving from foundations grew 4.7 percent. However, contributions to foundations declined more than 9 percent — possibly because donors are migrating to donor-advised funds.

To help you meet your fundraising goals even if the outlook dims further, we’ve collected articles and advice to help you handle the forces shaping charitable giving today.

The anticipated uptick in planned giving from aging baby boomers is one of the brighter and perhaps more reliable prospects for nonprofits, so don’t miss the tool kit Getting Started With Planned Gifts. It shares ways to jump-start a planned-giving program and features the story of how one radio station is attracting bequests from young donors.

An earlier version of this article used a non-inflation-adjusted figure to describe how corporate contributions changed in 2018.

A version of this article appeared in the July 6, 2016 issue.